Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mageia and Mandriva working together but not?

Two postings by Mageia and Mandriva has signaled a new stage in the relationship between the two entities. This involves not only the distribution itself but also relates to the board of each distribution and therefore the directions of the distributions. The Mageia post, talks about the talks between the two parties on some form of integration or reconciliation. However, the philosophies of each organization has grown apart enough that direct reconciliation is not possible. So Mandriva SA has decided to pass the responsibility for the distribution to new entity. In the posting titled "Mandriva Linux will return to the community", Mandriva SA essentially relents to the wishes of the community and accepts a larger role for the community in the future of the distribution. Mandriva SA will be part of this new entity and they are working out the exact roles and responsibilities.
The question is right now, what is the community like now? How much of the Mandriva active community remains after the split and how many have migrated to Mageia? It is clear that even though Mandriva will be returned to the community, it does come with strings attached. Those strings probably gave the Mageia board enough reason to decline Mandriva SA's invitation. Those strings may not have been technical in nature. What the Mageia board probably wanted to avoid is uncertainty over the future of the distribution. This uncertainty has been hanging over Mandriva and in it's current form, the Mageia board is not convinced the cloud will be lifted or even if dispersed, will not return.
What was more interesting was when the Mageia post is read together with the Mandriva post on the future of the distributions. To Mageia's credit, Mandriva SA will be basing their server product on the Mageia distribution. This is an acknowledgement to the stability and the maturity of the technical processes relating the generation of the Mageia distribution. What is even more interesting is when that news is read together with the rest of the post which talks about the position of the current Mandriva distribution. Mandriva will continue to form the desktop products of Mandriva SA. The Mandriva/Mageia pairing achieves parity with the Fedora/RedHat and the Ubuntu/UbuntuLTS relationships.
There is a slight advantage to the Mandriva/Mageia pairing and it is a product of the first posting. While Fedora and Ubuntu distributions are aimed at the general user and incorporates new versions of software, their server range takes a conservative approach, favoring stability over new features. But since Mageia's board is not directly related to Mandriva's board, the decision to include more recent versions will be independent and more likely be sooner. These inclusions will also be closer the core distribution itself. This avoids the multi-repository and priority arrangement of RedHat's method of incorporating newer releases of software. Needless to say my experience with a system that failed because the administrator added third party repositories without priority management colors my opinions.
With the release of Mageia 2 imminent, coupled with this news, it should make for an interesting few months ahead for both distributions.

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